Overnight Energy: Pentagon report warns of climate threats to bases | Court halts offshore oil testing permits | Greens challenge federal drilling work during shutdown

Overnight Energy: Pentagon report warns of climate threats to bases | Court halts offshore oil testing permits | Greens challenge federal drilling work during shutdown
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PENTAGON REPORT DETAILS CLIMATE RISK: A Pentagon report reveals that more than two-thirds of operationally critical military installations are threatened by the effects of climate change over the next 20 years, including repeated flooding and wildfires.

The 22-page report released this week, titled the "Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense," took a look at 79 "mission assurance priority installations" from the Army, Air Force and Navy that are based in the U.S.

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Of the 79 installations, 53 are at risk for flooding now, and seven additional locations are at risk in two decades.

For wildfires, 36 installations are at risk currently, a number that is bumped up to 43 over 20 years. In addition, more than half are at risk from drought, and six are prone to desertification.

"The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense missions, operational plans, and installations," the report states.

The congressionally mandated document was delivered to lawmakers on Thursday but was not officially announced or released to the public. Numerous environmental organizations released the report publicly on Friday.

Only the latest climate warning: The report follows the November release of the National Climate Assessment, which was created by 13 federal agencies and found that climate change is expected to quickly interrupt the way people live day-to-day, with current efforts to stop it deemed insufficient.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE, however, has continued to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity and, at the time of the assessment's release, said, "I don't believe it."

Dems not pleased with the report: Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedPapering over climate change impacts is indefensible Why Democrats are pushing for a new nuclear policy GOP chairman: US military may have to intervene in Venezuela if Russia does MORE (R.I.), the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, slammed the report as "inadequate, incomplete" and "partisan."

"Unfortunately, under the leadership of the Acting Secretary, the Department transmitted a report that failed to adequately answer the litany of reporting elements required by law and instead produced an alphabetical list of 79 military installations. ... The report reads like an introductory primer and carries about as much value as a phonebook," Reed said in a statement.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants Papering over climate change impacts is indefensible Why Democrats are pushing for a new nuclear policy MORE (D-Wash.) said the report "fails to even minimally discuss a mitigation plan to address the vulnerabilities" or "future costs."

We've got more here.

And click here to see the actual Pentagon report.

 

TGIF! The government shutdown clock is at 28 days.

Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

The overnight will be taking a hiatus Monday for the holiday weekend. We'll be back Tuesday with all your energy and environment news!

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com, and Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama, @mirandacgreen, @thehill.

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COURT PAUSES OFFSHORE TESTING PERMITS: A federal court on Friday blocked the Trump administration from issuing any permits to conduct seismic testing for offshore oil and natural gas drilling during the partial government shutdown.

Judge Richard Gergel of the District Court for South Carolina, an Obama appointee, issued the order as part of an ongoing challenge by environmental groups and Democratic states to the administration's November move toward allowing the testing.

Justice Department attorneys representing the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) had asked Gergel to pause the case during the shutdown because they could not write filings.

Gergel granted that pause but said that the same logic means BOEM should be prohibited from granting any permits until the government reopens.

He noted that last week, Interior asked furloughed employees to return to work in order to process the seismic testing applications.

"It requires little imagination to realize that the returning BOEM employees could act on the pending applications and seismic testing could commence during the pendency of the stay," he wrote in his order.

He ruled that all federal agencies are prohibited from taking action to promulgate permits, otherwise approve, or take any other official action" on the applications at issue.

Read more on his decision here.

 

GREENS SAY NO DRILLING PERMITS DURING SHUTDOWN: Three environmental groups are filing formal objections against the Trump administration's decision to keep processing permits and taking other actions to further oil and natural gas drilling during the partial government shutdown.

WildEarth Guardians, Western Watersheds Project and the Center for Biological Diversity say the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is breaking the law by processing drilling applications and preparing for upcoming drilling rights lease sales on federal land.

In addition to violating a prohibition on spending money Congress hasn't appropriated, the groups say that since the BLM cannot post information about the applications, the public cannot fully participate in the process through objections or other means.

"In short, it is impossible for the public to inspect or otherwise provide meaningful feedback on any pending [applications or environmental reviews] related to these applications," the groups wrote in a formal filing Thursday with the BLM.

"Instead, the public is entirely locked out of the process," they wrote.

The groups often fight individual drilling applications and lease sales, as well as larger efforts to increase drilling on federal land.

Read more on those objections here.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK:

Linda Capuano, administrator of the Energy Information Administration, will release the agency's 2019 Annual Energy Outlook Thursday at a Bipartisan Policy Center event.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta will be open this weekend, thanks to a gift from Delta Air Lines.

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Activist Erin Brockovich is planning to lead a protest against PG&E Corp.'s bankruptcy next week, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Tesla Inc. shares dropped 13 percent Friday after the company announced it would cut 7 percent of its workforce, NBC News reports. More on the Tesla layoffs here.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Friday's stories...

-Michigan AG withdraws state's challenge of two EPA rules

-Pentagon warns of threat to bases from climate change

-Court blocks offshore oil testing permits during shutdown

-Teen diver discovers 50,000 golf balls, many degrading, off California coast

-Greens formally object to Trump administration approving oil drilling during shutdown